There are stories that speak to our inner depths and stay with us for a really long time. Stories that strike a sensible cord in me and remain in my subconscious are alike of the ever classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Théophile Gautier’s “Le Chevalier Double” published in 1840, and Breaking Bad, the 2008 American crime drama series. Why? Because they speak the international language of the alter ego… our repressed double.
Use triggers to your advantage
Before you set yourself up for unreasonably high expectations, you should know that it is harder for you as an adult to unmask your Shadow Self because you have been shushing him a lot more deeply and for a longer period of time. However, give yourself a chance by using these outlets: art therapy, body therapy, talking therapy, free writing/keeping a journal, mindfulness meditation, etc. The most spontaneous and natural outlet would be social projection. Whatever you select, keep resuming your efforts with tolerance.
Undergo a conscious exploration
Any spiritual work must entail a self-loving inner nature, frank exposure, and complete understanding of the Shadow Self who needs a safe environment if we aim for closure and healing. Anxiety will arise first, a quite normal reaction because this is how our psyche informs us that we are dealing with a risk factor. Unsavory feelings, unwanted thoughts, and turbulent recollections will follow. However, danger lurks elsewhere - in our personal baggage, in us labelling them as toxic, and rejecting them prior to investigation.
It is a mentally driven process
Any shadow work must start with an intellectual revolution that asks if dark truly equals evil. When your exploration spurs primal fears and harsh judgments, just stay put and admit to yourself the forever rooted existence of inner darkness. Then, investigate the source of anguish and find out how it might have helped you in life. As you dissect your psyche, as you accept and integrate your shadow elements, enlightening ideas about human nature and the duality of creation will take form, bringing forth a forward momentum.
Close a well-adjusted merger
Our Shadow Self can show itself as weakness or strength. The more we restraint it, the more we are prone to destructive behavior. The more we pamper it, the less likely it is to accomplish spiritual and personal growth. Individuals who lack growth and the capacity to deal with discomfort get their energy diverted to worrying and procrastinating, very harmful activities that impede inner unification, self-acceptance, and balance. Only an Integrated Whole can promote emotions with blended states and a sense of ownership.
Seeking a worldly happiness
Harmony is the sole gateway to glee in a world filled with self-condemnation, different selves, chaos… and that incessant global obsession with moving towards the “light.” Alas, light alone does not open the pearly gates to our untapped potential of strength, creativeness, and beauty, does not allow our spirit to act as our most instrumental healing tool, and does not help us see the world through unbiased goggles. Since happiness is our ultimate resting place, we need to dig hard for it because life is not all peaches and cream.
To coexist with our unpopular alter ego and achieve happiness in its company along the way, we need to work with what we have: early social conditioning, a sensible nature, changing strata, silly distractions, perpetually pornified settings, and so on. Our darker side is the inexorable fruit of such possibly damaging issues. But as founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Steve Hayes says, we need to get out of our head and into our life. And may the force be with us because light does not exist without darkness. It never will.